Wednesday News: Debate season


CUNNINGHAM SAYS TILLIS IS WRITING "BLANK CHECK" FOR TRUMP ON COURT SEAT: President Donald Trump has said he plans to nominate a woman to fill the vacancy created by Friday’s death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Tillis, a Republican seeking re-election, said he would support Trump’s nominee and wants to fill the seat before the Nov. 3 election. “There is an important role for a United States senator as a check and balance on the president of the United States,” Cunningham said. “Rather than act as a check and balance, Senator Tillis has written a blank check to the president. He has forfeited his right to independence of judgment here on behalf of the people of our state. And that’s wrong. That’s something I would never do.”

NC BOARD OF ELECTIONS TO EXTEND THE DATE ABSENTEE BALLOTS CAN BE ACCEPTED: The State Board of Elections announced a proposed legal settlement Tuesday that may give the Postal Service more time to deliver absentee ballots and make it easier for voters to correct ballot mistakes. The state board voted unanimously last week to settle this and several other outstanding lawsuits on state election rules, delegating the details to the Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell and legal staff. That decision was made after a closed-session discussion with all five members present. The settlement also proposes a new cutoff date for absentee ballots to arrive and be counted: Nov. 12. State law currently requires a ballot to arrive by 5 p.m. on Nov. 6. Ballots would still have to be postmarked on or before Election Day, but this would give the U.S. Postal Service, which has warned of delays, more time to deliver ballots to county election offices.

BIDEN VISITS CHARLOTTE TODAY, TRUMP WILL FOLLOW TOMORROW: Five weeks before Election Day, Charlotte will be the center of the presidential race this week, with Democrat Joe Biden visiting on Wednesday and President Donald Trump on Thursday. It will be Biden’s first trip to North Carolina since the primary. For Trump, it will be his fifth visit to the state in the past month. He held rallies in Winston-Salem and Fayetteville and headlined an event in Wilmington. On Aug. 24 he addressed Republican convention delegates at the Charlotte Convention Center. Trump is coming “to discuss his administration’s action and vision in delivering quality healthcare at low costs for the American people,” according to a White House official. The official wouldn’t say if Trump will promote a legislative health care plan, which the president has been promising for years. No details were available about either visit, including where they’ll be or whether the public is invited.

BORDER PATROL CLASHES WITH INDIGENOUS GROUP PROTESTING TRUMP'S WALL: For five hours Monday in the blistering heat of the Sonoran Desert, they prayed, chanted and burned sage to protest the Trump administration’s efforts to put up a 30-foot wall through the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument — an area they consider sacred. Officials with U.S. Border Patrol and the National Park Service repeatedly ordered the group to move, warning them the site was closed to the public. But when the protesters refused, armed federal agents knocked them to the ground, yanked them apart and drew stun guns in a confrontation caught on camera. “You don’t control the border, you terrorize everyone here from Texas to California and everywhere in between,” one protester told the agents during the standoff, according to the Arizona Republic. As the Trump administration blazes forward with efforts to build and expand border fencing at the U.S.-Mexico border, this week’s clash at Organ Pipe points to escalating efforts by Indigenous groups to protect their ancestral lands — and, with it, the increasingly aggressive response from the federal officials tasked with ensuring the wall gets built. “I would call it an uprising,” Laiken Jordahl, an organizer who works on border issues for the Center for Biological Diversity told The Post on Tuesday. “This administration has given Indigenous people no choice but to take direct action to make their voices heard because they’ve been silenced in every other way.” Along with the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the O’odham consider the desert oasis a key part of their ancestral homeland, which extends from Phoenix and Tucson into the Mexican state of Sonora. Generations of the Hia-Ced O’odham band, which is not federally recognized, lived and conducted ceremonial rites at Quitobaquito before the site was added to a congressionally designated wilderness in the 1950s.

THE GOP IS TRYING TO USE THE GREEN PARTY (AGAIN) TO DILUTE DEMOCRATIC VOTE: Four years ago, the Green Party candidate played a significant role in several crucial battleground states, drawing a vote total in three of them — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — that exceeded the margin between Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton. This year, the Republican Party has been trying to use the Green Party to its advantage again, if not always successfully. In Wisconsin, a G.O.P. elections commissioner and lawyers with ties to Republicans tried to aid attempts by Howie Hawkins, the current Green Party presidential candidate, to get on the ballot there, which were ultimately unsuccessful. In Montana, state regulators found that the Republican Party violated campaign finance laws as part of an effort to boost the Greens in five down-ballot races, including for senator and governor. And in Western Pennsylvania, petitioners from Florida and California were brought in to gather signatures for Mr. Hawkins by an outside firm whose actions Mr. Hawkins and the party said they could not account for. Mr. Hawkins also did not make the ballot there. As of this week, Mr. Hawkins was on the ballot in only 28 states, qualifying in Florida, Colorado and Michigan, but not in other states where polls show relatively narrow margins, including Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Georgia. That’s a far cry from 2016, when Ms. Stein qualified in 44 states and drew almost 1.4 million votes overall. Some Democrats blamed her bid for depriving Mrs. Clinton of critical votes that year, while also condemning Russian efforts to boost Ms. Stein’s candidacy. Mr. Hawkins, a longtime party activist, acknowledged that Republicans had likely tried to help him but dismissed the efforts as irrelevant.